Value Software has grown to become one of the biggest players in the gaming software industry. However, it now finds itself as a defendant in a Washington state lawsuit with claims of fostering illegal gambling.
As first reported by Nat Levy for www.geekwire.com earlier this month, Value will now have to defend these illegal gambling charges. The plaintiff in the matter is Quinault Nation. This Native American nation in Washington owns and operates Quinault Beach Resort & Casino in Ocean Shores. It alleges that “Value has facilitated the use of textured digital weapons, known as ‘skins’ in its games”. The primary game mentioned was Counter Strike: Global Offensive. The skins are used as collateral in online betting through third-party sites.
The lawsuit contends that Value’s practice of offering “skins gambling” has “subjected Washington citizens to scam, unsafe and unfair gambling.”
Quoted directly from the lawsuit:
“Value is well aware of the skins gambling that goes on. Is well aware that skins have real world cash value, which has increased their popularity and value. And, actively encourages and facilitates skins gambling.”
The suit was filed earlier in April in Grays Harbor County. This is where Quinault’s tribal government is headquartered. Value is based out of Bellevue, Washington. This is not the first time this company has been taken to court. Value has also had some previous run-ins with regulators over similar illegal gambling allegations. Going back to a class action lawsuit in 2016, a judge did dismissed the case. Value had been accused of illegal gambling with the same game, Counter Strike: Global Offensive.
The company’s stance denies any association with third-party gambling websites. In that 2016 court case, Value claims to have sent more than 40 cease-and-desist letters to sites that used the company’s Steam gaming marketplace. It also claims that it shut down those Steam accounts.
Despite the fact that skins gambling accusations persist, this new lawsuit alleges that Value continues to condone and facilitate its use. The suit also alleges that skins gambling is an integral part of games such as CS:GO. One example cited was televised esports competitions.
“Value has profited handsomely for years from illegal online gambling. And has made only token efforts to stop it.”
Along with accusations of supporting illegal gambling, the suit also claims these actions have hurt legitimate casino earnings. More specifically, this practice has hurt Quinault’s profitability. This is why it has to take the necessary steps to ensure fair and secure gambling conditions. Gambling pays taxes and fees to state and local governments. Value bypasses this to create an unlevel playing field.
Washington has become a battlefield when it comes to legal online gambling. In a landmark court ruling last year, Seattle-based Big Fish Games was found negligent in an online gambling lawsuit. The ruling stated that the use of chips in the company’s casual casino games did represent a “thing of value.” The case is still tied up in the courts. However, it has opened the doors to numerous for other online gambling lawsuits.